What are the homeostatic and circadian processes regulating sleep?

Updated: Sep 11, 2018
  • Author: Jasvinder Chawla, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Answer

Both animal and human studies support a model of 2 processes that regulate sleep and wakefulness: homeostatic and circadian. The homeostatic process is the drive to sleep that is influenced by the duration of wakefulness. The circadian process transmits stimulatory signals to arousal networks to promote wakefulness in opposition to the homeostatic drive to sleep. (See the image below.)

Sleep-wake cycle. Sleep-wake cycle.

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